This is not an exit

What’s in a social network?

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I’ve been on Google+ for about a week now. I’ve only made one post in the seven days and that was to profess my love for the Circles feature.

So far, I’ve seen professionals like Christina Trapolino post ideas and impressions of the service, friends like Jacob Martin and Paul Searle post everyday thoughts and celebrities like Mark Hoppus use Google+ like any other social networking tool.

The great thing about social networks is that there isn’t a wrong way to use them per se, but what I’ve struggled with — and the thing that’s honestly kept me from posting on Google+ or Facebook right now, for that matter — is that I’m not entirely sure what I want to do with this new service.

My immediate impression of Google’s new venture was excitement at the prospect of a more meaningful networking experience. Whereas Facebook is reminiscent of a city square where everyone you know is screaming at the top of their lungs for a shot at your attention, whether it’s with photos of every second of their two-year-old’s life or their Garfield-esque distaste for Mondays, Google+ — at least so far — let me take a moment to breathe.

The posts I’m reading on Google’s service have more purpose for being. With very few exceptions, they’re not the usual grievances of children misbehaving or exhausting commutes. Instead I’m reading open conversations where the author is asking meaningful questions about the ways we interact.

Maybe it’s because the majority of people on Google+ are social media early adopters who love opening that dialogue. Actually, that’s precisely why. But in being privy to these posts, I nearly felt the need to retire my Facebook with the mindset of the arsonist in 30 Rock’s “The Funcooker.”

But the world’s largest social network is a bit tough to leave behind. I can’t tell you how many sources I’ve made first contact with through Facebook or how nice it is to be able to catch up with my family in seconds.

You might ask that if there are so many people on Facebook who bother me why I don’t just delete them. Trust me: I’ve tried. But the few instances wherein I’ve given in to the urge to click on that “Unfriend” link, I’ve almost immediately received a message over the service asking why on Earth I would think of destroying such an integral online acquaintanceship.

And that’s what I absolutely love about the Circles feature. It’s almost like Twitter without the 140-character limit. There’s no pressure to follow back, either. If you want to read my thoughts, go ahead and put me in a circle. It’s up to me to create content that warrants a follow, nice and simple.

It’s like somebody saw the bothersome aspects of one social network and thought they could do better (R.I.P., MySpace …)

For all the grief I’ve given Facebook so far, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due. The landscape of social media would be completely different without the service and, as I said before, there are a ton of benefits to keeping my profile up.

But that doesn’t help with my Google+ conundrum. It’s definitely different than other social networking services. But how do I use it? And what will it look like when its membership opens to the public?

But what do YOU think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: